Lucknow: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwarts, L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, will appear before a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court here on Tuesday for framing of charges in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
Besides them, special CBI judge S.K. Yadav had asked BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, Vishva Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) Vishnu Hari Dalmia and a one-time firebrand Hindutva preacher Sadhvi Ritambara to present themselves before the court in person.
While directing the accused to present themselves in person, the judge had said no application for adjournment or exemption from personal appearance shall be entertained. The court, which is hearing two separate cases relating to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, would also frame charges against Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti, Baikunth Lal Sharma alias Prem Ji, Champat Rai Bansal, Mahant Dharma Das and Satish Pradhan in the second matter.
The Supreme Court had on 19 April ordered prosecution of Advani (89), Joshi (83), 58-year-old Bharti, and other accused for criminal conspiracy in the politically sensitive case. It had also ordered day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years.
The top court had called the destruction of the medieval-era monument a “crime" which shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution" while allowing the CBI’s plea seeking restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the four BJP leaders, including Katiyar (62), and others.
However, the Supreme Court had said BJP leader Kalyan Singh, who is the Rajasthan governor and during whose tenure as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh the disputed structure was razed, is entitled to immunity under the Constitution as long as he holds the gubernatorial office.
The apex court had transferred the case against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and three other accused from a Raebareli court to Lucknow for a joint trial in the demolition case.